Smith praised both Finch and Pandya for their batting    IANS
Smith praised both Finch and Pandya for their batting IANS

Indore: Australia skipper Steven Smith heaped praise on Hardik Pandya for his brilliant knock in the third One-Day International (ODI) which helped India to a five-wicket win and an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. Pandya produced a power-packed knock lower down the order to carry the hosts to the cusp of victory. The Baroda all-rounder top scored for the hosts with 78 runs off 72 deliveries, hitting five boundaries and four sixes along the way. READ: India dethrone South Africa to take top spot in ICC ODI rankings

“I thought we set it up beautifully with the bat to launch at the back end, but I thought the Indian bowlers executed really well and we executed poorly. We couldn’t get the boundaries. A total in excess of 330 might have been a different result, but credit to India. Hardik was magnificent and Rohit [Sharma] and Jinks [Ajinkya Rahane] were fabulous too,” Smith said.

The 28-year-old also praised Australia’s opening batsman Aaron Finch for his 124-run knock which helped the visitors post 293 for 6 in 50 overs after electing to bat first. Finch, who missed the first two ODIs, registered his eighth ODI century and shared a 154-run second-wicket partnership with Smith (63 off 71 balls).

“I thought Finchy was magnificent, it was a great hundred. The pitch was pretty much the same for both teams until 35 overs, it did slow down towards the end. We weren’t good enough to get the boundaries and get the score we needed,” Smith said.

Australia, who have lost the ODI series 0-3, will take on India in the fourth match at Bengaluru on September 28.